An Open Letter to the Defence Secretary

Soldiers from Balaklava Company, of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, parading at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh for the Arrival of HM The Queen on 2 July 2018. Photo from @The_SCOTS Twitter account.

Dear Mr Wallace

An Open Letter to the Secretary of State for Defence Mr Ben Wallace MP

published on A Force For Good's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages on Monday 7 June 2021

On Saturday 5 June 2021, the news broke that the sporrans for the Royal Regiment of Scotland were likely to be imported, instead of being purchased from a traditional artisan in Scotland. An article in The Times (Mike Wade, "Sporran maker given marching orders", 5-6-21) tells us:

"Cost cutting by the Ministry of Defence means military sporrans are to be imported, almost certainly from Pakistan, leaving Scottish manufacturers on the brink of ruin, just a week after sporran-making was placed on the red list of endangered crafts."

It has come as a surprise to many that the MoD does not prioritise British companies for such purchases.

This is especially surprising now that we have left the EU. Under EU laws, government-funded projects had to be opened to worldwide competition. Outside the EU, we are free to invite tenders from British companies only, thereby keeping the money from government spending within the UK.

We suggest that the MoD should have a default position to procure from British manufacturers only. We would expect this especially to be the case with traditional items of clothing which are culturally significant and related to local identity.